The title pretty much explains it all, but to clarify - Xbox 360 players will be given free access to Xbox Live Gold starting today, and lasting until October 11th. So, if you're still gaming on your last-gen console and want to try some multiplayer modes in your favourite games - or perhaps have lapsed your Live Gold subscription and want to jump back into the action - you've got three days to get your fill.
If you are after an Xbox Live Gold sub, be sure to keep an eye on our Xbox Live account deals guide for the cheapest prices.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection's matchmaking is an object of shame, embarrassment and ridicule, both for 343 Industries and us reviewers. The fortnight since launch saw Halo's new guardians apologies, grovel and make all the right noises, but fixes were slow and stumbling, especially following a massively-hyped patch last week that addressed practically everything EXCEPT the state of matchmaking.
However, in the wee small hours of last night (UK time), 343 quietly slipped out another Halo: The Master Chief Collection update weighing in at 523MB. With few hopes and low expectations, I summarily download the file and tried it out.
Ooh. Hey. Whoa. I don't want to jinx anything, but from what I've experienced post-update, this unassuming new patch actually makes an enormous impact. Sadly, it also sometimes does something weird and stupid just to keep us on our toes.
Click here to read more...
Halo: The Master Chief Collection is an incredible package, but like any great hero, it has an Achilles' Heel. Matchmaking. Post-launch, what appeared to be solid and stable matchmaking descended to a mess of interminable wait times, broken parties and hilariously unbalanced teams. 343 Industries were quick to apologies and have been working around the clock to sort things out, culminating in a 1400 MB patch yesterday that promised to address the major issues alongside a host of minor tweaks.
So does it work?
Click here to read more...
EA have slashed prices on Titanfall and its DLC over on Origin for a day, meaning you can pick up the base game for just £13.49. The individual map packs have also been discounted, and EA have shaved a third off of the price of the Season Pass. Additionally, ifd you've not gotten into the game yet, you can pick up the Titanfall Digital Deluxe Edition, which contains the base game and the Season Pass, for just £23.99.
It's a cracking game, we're still playing it, and the latest map pack, Frontier's Edge, is an absolute winner. Thanks to shahidali47 @ HUKD!
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Be advised: I'm still playing Titanfall and loving it. Though many players have departed over the last few months, angrily citing the lack of a metagame and arbitrary unlockables, the evergreen gameplay and superbly designed maps of Respawn's shooter ensure me a fresh and exciting experience every time I scamper along a rooftop or crush fleeing infantry into bloody smears under steel heel.
Mind you, Titanfall dropped the ball hard post-launch, which I've poked and prodded at relentlessly. From dwindling player numbers on objective gametypes to long matchmaking times and the lack of cosmetic customisation, there's been plenty to moan about. Thankfully Respawn have managed to patch things up in any sense of the phrase, resulting in a sharper, faster, more engrossing and customisable experience after a sequence of updates. Update 5 brings a new economy into the mix that adds a new dimension to Burn Cards, alongside extra fixes and tweaks that improve and expand the gameplay experience for free.
Frontier's Edge feels like the last piece of the puzzle: three thematic stages that lack the obvious gimmicks of Expedition's trio, designed to tempt players back onto objective gametypes with smart scalable design. Come back for the update, then stay for the maps. We'll discuss both over the next few hundred words.Click here to read more...
Just a quickie: Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare is nearing the end of its Microsoft exclusivity now that the PS4 version has been officially dated. It's slated to launch on August 22nd, packing full 1080p visuals, PlayStation Vita remote play functionality and all of the DLC released thus far. "We're especially excited for fans to experience Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare on PS4, where it will be playable at a native 1080p resolution and blazing fast 60 frames per second," explains PopCap brand man Gary Clay. There's a trailer below.
We rather liked Garden Warfare, praising its fun-packed atmosphere and opportunities for tight teamwork in our 7/10 review, but criticised its annoyingly random and glacial progression (newly propped up by microtransactions). Thankfully the free DLC has significantly improved value since launch, adding new maps and modes.
If you want to hit the ground running and gunning, be sure to mug up on our Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare survival guide!Click here to read more...
Respawn had several options when they realised that PC Titanfall players weren't playing much Capture The Flag or Pilot Hunter, leading to long wait times. They could have rebalanced the gameplay, perhaps, to make things more engaging. They could have released some quirky mode-specific burn cards to tempt us onto the playlists. They could have let us browse server lists on the PC version.
However, they eventually decided on Order 66: cutting both playlists altogether unless you want to take your chances in Variety Pack mode. I'm still seriously enjoying Titanfall and its new DLC pack -- you can read my Titanfall Expedition review here -- but it's time for some tough love.Click here to read more...
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Fluid parkour and massive robots are all well and good, but Titanfall's maps are the unsung stars of the show. Wide enough to accommodate hulking exoskeletons, tall enough to let us exploit our enhanced mobility, nuanced enough to allow for expressive gameplay in each match yet compact enough to force twelve players into flashpoints, they're an absolute masterpiece of design, form and function.
And now we have three more of them courtesy of Expedition: the first of Titanfall's lightweight season pass map packs that clocks in at an equally lightweight £7.99.
So as always we'll take each map in turn, discuss whether or not they provide reasonable value, and then have an overdue chat about Titanfall's more urgent concerns. It's very much a case of the great, the good and the ugly.
Let's start with WarGames: the first map to be announced. This virtual battlefield is set within a training simulator, right down to the custom pre-match introduction and VR enemies that dissolve into pixels when killed, offering unique visual flair thanks to its neon-edged platforms and eyecatching glitchy design. A central tower plays host to desperate close-quarters warfare, while various thematic zones and wide streets are linked together by lofty wallrun paths that itch to be explored.
It's utterly fantastic. Indeed, it might even be the finest map in the entire game.Click here to read more...
As of May 20th, Nintendo are set to shut down their somewhat obsolete Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service, which powers online multiplayer across all Wii and DS games. This means that we'll no longer be able to visit each other's towns in Animal Crossing: Let's Go To The City, quest with others in Phantasy Star Zero or throw down in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Mario Kart.
To be honest, it's unlikely that many people will actually notice, but don't say we didn't warn you.Click here to read more...
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Shigeru Miyamoto has always wanted to make a game about submarines, and there's nothing anyone can do to stop him.
We love the idea -- after all, the mighty sub really doesn't get the attention it deserves, beyond Silent Hunter -- but Steel Diver didn't set the gaming world on fire back in 2011. We enjoyed its bonkers side-scrolling depth-charging gameplay as far as it went... which turned out to be about thirty minutes thanks to the ludicrously short campaign, so I must admit to loosing an exasperated growl when Miyamoto announced a sequel to his pet project.
However, Sub Wars is a very different beast from the niche original: a first-person free-to-play multiplayer arcade submarine simulator. As such, it's the best one of those on the (any?) platform by default, but is it actually worth your time and an optional £8.99 premium upgrade?
Click here to read more...
PS4 owners are hungry for details about Ready At Dawn's mysterious steampunk shooter The Order: 1866, which has mercilessly teased us with its neo-Victorian London setting and "filmic" gunplay over the last few months. The launch trailer and banners showed small teams of operatives picking their way through the smoggy streets, but the developers have now spoken out to confirm that the game will not feature multiplayer in any capacity.
Oh, and it will run at 30FPS, in case you're interested.Click here to read more...
Nidhogg reminds me of a time when I used to play really basic flash games with mates at school during boring lessons ion the computer lab, stuff like Slime Soccer on sites like Miniclip. We'd huddle around a single keyboard and try not to look too amused as we whiled away a quick five minutes with the most beguilingly basic games: titles that were quick to learn in a matter of seconds, yet offered unlimited replayability in competition.
Nidhogg is exactly the same as those games in every way but one.
It costs a tenner.
It's enormous fun, though, especially in short bursts. You have your directional buttons, you have a button to jump and a button to thrust forth with your sword. And that's it. As multiplayer fencing titles go, Nidhogg is as simple in its controls as it is in its archaic visuals. But it isn't long before you begin to realise that the simple inputs can be combined in a number of ways to make for swashbuckling encounters that move back and forth in seconds. Hold up and press attack and you'll fling your epee at your opponent. Tap down and you can pick it up again. Tap down while you're in motion, and you can do a nifty little action roll or a handy cartwheel -- perfect for retrieving dropped weaponry when on the move, or evading a high thrust and skewering your opponent swiftly in retaliation, right through the balls.Click here to read more...
Nidhogg is a cracking little game, that much is certain. We'll worry about whether or not Messhof's multiplayer fencing title justifies its £10 price tag in the review later on today, but it's certainly got an addictive, pick-up-and-play charm to it.
Better yet, it supports local and online multiplayer!
Fighting bots is a waste of time, so naturally we had to bring you some multiplayer footage. But with the internet being a little iffy chez moi over the weekend, I had to ask for a little local help from my better half to stand in as an expert companion, seeing as she's actually done a bit of fencing before.
Nidhogg -- much like Smash Bros or Mario Kart -- is a game of fine margins and swift, stabby murder. Needless to say, it isn't long before the atmosphere is filled with indignant exclamations and declarations of vengeance.
Some people, most of whom are yet to play the damn thing, started moaning about Titanfall's 6v6 player cap despite the developers' extensive experience in the field, years of testing, and Respawn never claiming to be developing a large-scale shooter.
I've already had a bit of a rant as to why the complaints seem a little rubbish, but to support my own already-unassailable logic, here's a list of six games that definitely don't need their player count increased, just to demonstrate that more doesn't automatically equal better...
We tried this once in chess club at school. Basically you take away the Rooks, then Knights, and the Pawns in front of them, and you play four-way chess. Chess is one of the best games ever invented, pitting two minds against one another in a decisive battle of tactical awesomeness. And we were idiots.
Have you ever tried having a thumb war with more than one other person? It's impossible. Someone just ends up getting punched.
The clue is in the name. Five-a-side football doesn't need any more players, because then it would actually cease to be five-a-side football. Semantics win! Plus, playing five-a side is always more fun to actually play anyway. Everyone's more involved, the pitch size is too small for anyone to ever get bored, and you're far more likely to see some futsal-esque trickery. Also, rush goalies.
Imagine playing multiplayer on an eighth (or less!) of a 14-inch CRT. In fact, don't. Because it's horrible and will give you a migraine.
Whoever thought Dead Space needed multiplayer needs their head examined. Dead Space was a fantastic game, albeit a little more heavy on the action than the horror, but its multiplayer component was woefully undercooked and completely superfluous to begin with. Just don't.
Any Super Mario game
The more players you shove into a Mario game, the more you run the risk of ruining what makes Mario great: that perfectly realised link between game designer and game player. Super Mario 3D World is brilliant fun, but it won't be remembered as a classic for that very reason.
So yes, there you have it. Six games from both real and virtual worlds that conclusively prove that more doesn't mean better. We at Dealspwn can assure you that this experiment was researched and conducted thoroughly in the name of science, and the above does not simply constitute the facetious ramblings of an irritated loon.
Respawn Entertainment's Vince Zampella revealed today that Titanfall's player count will only go up to 6-on-6, a decision that has been met with a rather large amount of fan backlash.Click here to read more...
Local co-op has been an ailing beast for some time, struck low by the sheer convenience of being able to beam one's virtual avatar across time and space thanks to the wonders of online gaming. It doesn't matter how small someone's couch is when you're gaming online.
But Christmas Day would be a sad time if we all just retreated to our own little pods and ignored the fact that some games out there still champion the glories of local co-op. Thankfully, we're here to save the day with five nods to some of the finest local multiplayer games of the year, along with a bonus shout for the Best Family Game Ever.
The most ambitious LEGO game to date, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes busts the world's greatest comics wide open, with an enormous range of playable characters (over 160), each with their own unique abilities and typical personalities, and plonks players down in a LEGO New York filled with Marvel landmarks.
It's a blast solo, but it really comes alive in local co-op, ferreting out the slew of hidden items, easter eggs, and in-jokes in each and every level, and saving Stan Lee more times than one can count until you unlock him and delight in the fact that not only does playable Stan Lee have almost every power in the game, but he can Hulk-out too.
It's really, really good.Click here to read more...
Gun Monkeys | Green Man Gaming | £0.99 (save £3)
Gun Monkeys is a seriously frantic and enjoyable multiplayer shooter that was forced to massively cut prices to fill out its servers. You can get two copies for less than 50p each thanks to Green Man Gaming, and Steam codes to boot.
Following some extensive leaks and a soupçon of teasing, Activision has officially confirmed that Call Of Duty: Ghosts will include a 1-4 player cooperative mode wherein players fight off hordes of ravening aliens. See it in action by way of this brand new trailer.
Also, can we please stop ripping off the Inception soundtrack now, videogame marketing departments? It's getting a little embarrassing now.
Call Of Duty: Ghost details are leaking out all over the shop, with the extraterrestrial Extinction Mode just the tip of the iceberg.Click here to read more...
GoD Factory: Wingmen, the ambitious 4v4 space dogfighting game that's offering a totally free prototype to test and try, only has one day left to secure a sizeable portion of its $70,000 Kickstarter target. Nine Dots Studio sunk a truly enormous amount of their own money and time into the project, which is in serious danger of falling by the wayside unless they can claw back some money with alpha funding. As we wrote in our hands-on preview and discussed in an extensive interview, it really is a breath of fresh air.
We've got a video plea from Nine Dots' CEO Guillaume Boucher-Vidal after the break, which was kind enough to mention us. It's not our place to tell you what games to back and how to spend your money, but if you like the idea of a refreshing new take on space combat, it might be worth checking out the campaign before it's too late. There's a Twitch Marathon running today if you want a closer look.Click here to read more...